What do you do with the charm squares that some quilt stores throw in your fabric orders? It seems like such a small piece of fabric and such a small stack of material. I had several stacks sitting in my sewing studio/she shed and finally took them on as a challenge. They had to go!
The first two stacks were used for a bag making challenge by one of my favorite pattern designers, Sew Sweetness. The challenge was to make one of her Cinch Bags and submit photos for review. So, I decided to piece those charm squares together into a piece of fabric to use for the outside of the bag.
If you haven’t had charm squares in your stash yet, they are 2.5-inch squares and usually come in sets of 42, like a jelly roll but much smaller. If you simply piece them as squares, that gives you a finished 2-inch square size. I played with several patterns before I pieced the squares together. It turned out I didn’t have quite enough for the outside bag piece after I got all the squares together so I had to add two strips of fabric to get the correct piece measurement. The finished cinch bag turned out pretty cute.
I had so much fun with that project that I ordered 5 charm square packets the next time I saw a set I liked on the Fat Quarter Shop’s daily Flash Sale. I had calculated the number I needed to make a set of four placemats and five worked if I added four squares out of my own stash. I definitely had something that would work! Probably have a lot of somethings that would have worked.
When I got the charm squares, I sorted the fifth set into colors and divided them between the other four sets. Then I started playing with arrangements. I tried random placement; liked it but didn’t love it. Then I tried the light colors in the center, and moving from light to dark outward. Again, it was okay but didn’t really seem the best. Finally I put the light colors in one corner, then placed colors from light to dark in the opposite corner. That was the arrangement I liked best.
These placemats gave me lots of practice in piecing squares, nesting seams and getting perfect intersections for the seams. I love autumn colors so this gave me a way to play with those colors in a quick project.
I did simple stitch in the ditch quilting for these and made the backing big enough to fold the backing over the front for the binding. I really love the end result.
My lesson from these two projects is that no piece of fabric is too small to be used for some project. Scrappy piecing is a great way to put all these small pieces together to come up with something fun and beautiful. I think my next project will be a scrappy quilt and I’m going to dig out all those scraps I have set aside because I keep seeing scrappy projects that look amazing. I would love to see your scrappy projects to give me additional inspiration to take this on!